The Gospel of Jesus Christ
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-8
Now, let’s focus on the words above in bold, ” by this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.”
Then, it says “otherwise you have believed in vein.”
What does that mean? You can believe in the Bible, you can believe in God and still be a lost soul. A factual belief or a mental assent in God or Jesus is NOT the same as saving faith. Far from it.
So what is saving faith?
Let’s go to Romans 10: 9-14 then 17
Saving faith is powerful. Romans says:
Belief is much more than a mental assent or a general belief. It is being fully persuaded in what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. It is putting your entire weight of faith in Christ at the Cross.
Jesus paid it all at the Cross! You can pay nothing, no works from you to be saved. It is a free gift from God to you. Only after you are saved do works come into play.
This is explained in Ephesians 2: 8-9.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
When one is truly saved, a deep and abiding change takes place. We don’t become perfect without sin. But, God moves in and begins to change us.
When regeneration happens, you will know it!
The late pastor and teacher RC Sproul says: “One sign that you are truly saved or regenerated is when you can say “I LOVE Jesus.” Loving Jesus only became possible when you were regenerated by God. Before you were saved, you could care less about Jesus. It was all a bunch of nonsense. There was no love.
I hope I am conveying this in a way you can understand. When I got saved, I wished someone would have explained this to me. It has taken me many years to understand what I am teaching you today.
The other point I want to make is the Christian life is not lived by one’s own effort. The Christian life is generated from within by the Holy Spirit. Surrendering your life to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis and giving Him control is the key, NOT self effort. Self effort will only leave you frustrated and unfulfilled!
There are some good video teachings about the Holy Spirit. I will be posting them next.